Apr 13, 2021

The Bulls have 19 games left to grab some showcase wins

The Bulls have 19 games left to grab some showcase wins

Good morning, frents!

Wow, these four-game nights are really something else. There's almost too much to keep track of, but it sure beats the alternative we were experiencing at this time last year.

Let's get to it.

Monday's results
Hawks 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
Brewers 6, Cubs 3
Sox 4, Indians 3
Grizzlies 101, Bulls 90

Today's schedule
Cubs at Brewers (6:40, Marquee)
Indians at Sox (7:10, NBCSCH)

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Any game now, Bulls

Don't ask any member of the Bulls to make change for a dollar.

All they have is three quarters.

Yes, the Bulls faded again late on Monday night, losing 101-90 in Memphis after the Grizzlies broke a close game open with an 18-6 run. The Bulls made just 5 of their 31 three-point attempts.

  • The bad news: The Bulls have lost three straight and their record since the Nikola Vucevic trade is 3-7. They're 3.5 games behind Indiana for the ninth spot with 19 games to play.
  • The good news: They finally get to come home for three straight games after a brutal stretch. Nine of their last 10 games were on the road and Monday's game was their fourth in five nights.

If you want to find excuses for the Bulls, they're there and KC Johnson does a nice job of summing them up here. Their health has varied, the offense is being completely overhauled and there hasn't been much time for all the new faces to get to know each other on the practice floor.

Still, the last month of this season is an important one for the Bulls and we need to see at least some growth if we're going to head into the offseason on an optimistic note.

So much of this season has been about feeling good about where the Bulls are headed. Which is fine! Zach LaVine matured into a bona fide All-Star, Patrick Williams has earned praise from some of the NBA's biggest stars during his rookie season and Nikola Vucevic arrived at the trade deadline to give the team two All-Stars for the first time in almost a decade. As I wrote a few weeks ago, the makeover has been fast and furious.

Now it's time for the Bulls to give us a proof of concept we're still waiting for. The team is just 6-22 against teams over .500 with two of those wins coming against a Mavericks team without Luka Doncic and a Nets team without Kevin Durant and James Harden.

But the Bulls will get ample chances for some showcase wins. Fourteen of the team's final 19 games come against teams currently in playoff position and all but one will come against the Eastern Conference. There are two games left against Milwaukee, two against Brooklyn, two against Miami and one against Philadelphia.

Any thought of the playoffs is probably gone after the last 10 games and the strength of the schedule ahead doesn't portend a late rush. What's more, I don't think any Bulls fan will take a first-round date getting dismantled by Brooklyn over a chance in the lottery, however slim.

But it's far from too late for the new-look Bulls to start showing us they're capable of putting together wins against good teams with equal efforts on both sides of the floor.

We've given the Bulls a lot of deserved leeway as they try to turn the franchise around, but I don't think it's too much to ask that they finish strong.

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News and results

Final: Hawks 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT)

The Hawks capped a busy trade deadline day for Stan Bowman with their fifth straight win over Columbus. Brandon Hagel scored the winner in OT as the Hawks erased two separate one-goal deficits during the night.

  • Nashville still leads the Hawks for a playoff spot by two points and Bowman made sure to signal the focus remains on the future by moving Mattias Janmark and Carl Soderberg on Monday. Powers and Laz have more on all the moving puzzle pieces.
  • Next: The Hawks head to Detroit for two starting on Thursday, followed by three straight against the Predators next week. which could well be a de facto playoff series.

Final: Sox 4, Indians 3

The team debuted some cool new lighting at Sox Park before the game, then walked it off in the ninth when it was Cleveland's turn to break down on defense. Sox are .500 after their first 10.

  • Adam Eaton homered in his second straight game, hitting a three-run shot in the third that gave the Sox the lead.
  • Dallas Keuchel was pressed into service after Carlos Rodon was a late scratch with an upset stomach. His start was average, but the bullpen picked up the slack. Codi Heuer was fantastic, striking out four and allowing only one hit over 2 1/3 innings.
  • Today: Shane Bieber (0-1, 3.65 ERA) vs. Lucas Giolito (1-0, 4.22)

Final: Brewers 6, Cubs 3

The Cubs managed only two hits over the first eight innings while Adbert Alzolay and Andrew Chafin combined to give up six earned runs in the sixth inning. That's three straight losses for the Cubs, who are now 4-6.

  • On the bright side, Kris Bryant homered for the third time in 10 games and Justin Steele looked good in 1 1/3 innings of relief after being recalled for his big-league debut after three relievers hit the COVID list.
  • Still, almost no one is hitting right now. David Bote's average is .087 while four other everyday players are .152 or lower. You figure not everyone will keep being this cold together for long, but you're not wrong if you feel like this is the dryest spell you've ever seen. Cubs historian Ed Hartig says the team's 49 hits over its first 10 games are the fewest in any 10-game span — no matter where in the season — since 1901.
  • Today: Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 3.00) vs. Brandon Woodruff (0-0, 2.45)
  1. Adam Hoge on where things stand between Anthony Miller and the Bears. NBC Sports Chicago
  2. Larry Mayer looks at the seven players the Bears have drafted at No. 20 over the years.  Chicago Bears
  3. Five non-rookie Michael Jordan cards that are increasing in value. Beckett
  4. Ranking every Big Ten football hire since 1999. The Athletic
  5. Is a Boston-based company trying to bilk charitable-minded Chicagoans through targeted Facebook ads? Eater Chicago

Kevin Kaduk
Kevin Kaduk
Kevin is the founder of Midway Minute.

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